St. Edward High School (Lakewood, Ohio): Wikis


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St. Edward High School
13500 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio, (Cuyahoga County), 44107
 United States
Coordinates 41°29′8″N 81°47′6″W / 41.48556°N 81.785°W / 41.48556; -81.785Coordinates: 41°29′8″N 81°47′6″W / 41.48556°N 81.785°W / 41.48556; -81.785
Type Private, All-Male
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Established 1949
Locale Suburban
Oversight Congregation of Holy Cross
President Br. Peter Graham
Principal Eugene Boyer
Vice principal Ken Fischer,
Frank O'Linn
Enrollment 820 (2009-2010)
Student:teacher ratio 17:1
Color(s) Green and Gold         
Team name Eagles
Rival St. Ignatius High School
Accreditation(s) North Central Association of Colleges and Schools [1]
Publication Flight
Newspaper Edsman
Yearbook Edwardian
Tuition $10,100 (2009-2010)
Athletic Director Paul Michalko
Director of Admissions Rita Reese
Dean of Men Thomas Becks
St Edward High School, Lakewood, OH

St. Edward High School is private, all-male Catholic, college-preparatory high school located in Lakewood, Ohio, a western Cleveland suburb. It was founded in 1949 and is operated in the Holy Cross tradition by the Midwest Province of the Brothers of Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana. It is one of three remaining all-male Catholic high schools in Greater Cleveland area (Benedictine and St. Ignatius being the others) and has an enrollment of 865 students, as of the 2009-2010 school year.[2] The school's mascot is the Eagle and school colors are green and gold.



St. Edward High School was founded in 1949 by the Brothers of Holy Cross and named in honor of Saint Edward the Confessor. It was also a nod toward Archbishop Edward F. Hoban, the head of the Diocese of Cleveland who invited the Brothers of Holy Cross to start several Catholic high schools in the Cleveland suburbs after World War II. The Brothers of Holy Cross would start Gilmour Academy in 1946 in the eastern suburb of Gates Mills, St. Edward in the western suburbs, and Archbishop Hoban High School in 1953 in nearby Akron, Ohio. The first graduating class of 1953 consisted of 159 students,[3] including several prominent Clevelanders, most notably talk show host Phil Donahue.[2]


The school offers a college-preparatory oriented curriculum as well as several specialized programs, including a pre-engineering and entrepreneurship programs, typically reserved for college campuses. The pre-engineering program was founded in 2001 and is housed in the Joseph and Helen Lowe Pre-Engineering & Technology Center. About 300 of the school's nearly 900 students are enrolled in the program.[4] In the 2008-2009 school year, the school began offering senior grade level students an entrepreneurship program[4], which is based on Planning The Entrepreneurial Venture concept created by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.[5] The 20-week program is structured to develop basic business techniques including finance, team-building, planning, etc. The completed business plans are ranked, with the students competing for one of five college scholarships totaling $27,000. Also, school is currently working with local universities to allow students to receive college credits for participation in the program.

St. Edward has three student-produced publications: a literary and art magazine called Flight, a yearbook titled Edwardian, and a monthly newspaper/news magazine called the Edsman. Tom Glasenapp, a veteran English and Literature teacher, was appointed faculty moderator for the Edsman and Edwardian in 2008 and played a key role in greatly enhancing the programs.

The Edsman experienced a complete renaissance during the 2008-2009 school year. [6] Student participation in the program grew dramatically compared to previous years and the program was completely reborn as a monthly newsmagazine. Instead of covering only school news, the Edsman expanded coverage to include topics at all levels (local to world) in four areas: news, features, sports, and opinions. In addition to a new physical design and new content, the program also ventured onto the web and launched [4], a site built by Stephen Gacka '10, in November 2008. proved to be a success and garnered recognition from the National Scholastic Press Association [5] as one of the finalists for the 2009 Online Pacemaker [7], an annual award given to the best high school journalism websites.

St. Edward's Latin Club functions as a local chapter of both the Ohio Junior Classical League (OJCL)[8] and National Junior Classical League (NJCL).[9]

The school was recognized by the United States Department of Education as a "Blue Ribbon School" for the 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 school years.[10] A Blue Ribbon school must demonstrate a strong commitment to educational excellence. Only two high schools in the country are recognized with the Blue Ribbon award per year.


The Lowe Center and the Chapel

Construction on the school's current facility began in 1949 on a site that once served as a resting and feeding stop for cattle trains passing through from western states to eastern markets on what is now known as the Norfolk Southern roadbed.[3] Classes began immediately in a temporary location roughly three blocks west of the school’s current location in the building of the former St. Theresa's Academy. A year later, new freshman were taught in makeshift classrooms in the basement of St. James Grade School, roughly a 1.5 miles at the corner of Detroit and Granger avenues. The original school building was ready in 1951, although many alumni tell tales of digging unfinished sections the basement during 1952 and 1953 for "detention" (there are pictures in private collects that validate the tales).

In 2000, the school began a capital campaign to upgrade and transform the physical plant, including a new gym, weight room and indoor track. The Kahl Student Life & Leadership Center, named for Manco founder Jack Kahl, was dedicated in 2004. Coughlin Field includes a synthetic, all-weather athletic field as well as an outdoor track.

On July 31, 2008, St. Edward dedicated a $3.4 million Joseph & Helen Lowe Pre-Engineering and Technology Center.[4] The facility was named after the parents of Greg Lowe, the senior vice president of High-Performance Analog Business Units at Texas Instruments and a 1980 graduate of the high school.[4]

The new Holy Family Chapel, topped with a decorative gold dome - a nod to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, which is also a Holy Cross institution, was dedicated on September 29, 2008.[11] The chapel contains a bronze sculpture of Jesus on the cross created by St. Edward alumnus and sculptor James McKenna who also makes each head bust for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Athletic programs

Coughlin Field. Home varsity football games are played at Lakewood High School, but most other field sports use this facility.

The St. Edward athletics program has been successful at both state and national levels of competition. The school's program is known as one of the best in the state, with 39 team Ohio High School Athletic Association(OHSAA) championships, 3rd best in Ohio history.[12]


Wrestling program

The now powerhouse wrestling program had humble beginnings from when it was started by football coach Joseph Figlar in 1958. [13] In an interview for a book celebrating the school's 50th anniversary, Figlar said, "I started the wrestling program with the idea of getting kids in shape for football. I had no idea it would be so successful."[13]

Through the 1960s and early 1970s, the team was generously considered average, becoming sectional champs just once (1967).[14] Fortunes changed when an unknown real estate millionaire named Howard E. Ferguson took over as coach of the wrestling program. [15] Ferguson, affectionately known as "Ferg" by his wrestlers, was a disciplined taskmaster that was driven to excellence. He sought the counsel of legendary coach and National Wrestling Hall of Famer Mike Milkovich, who won 10 Ohio State Championships in his twenty-seven seasons at Maple Heights High School. Ferguson assembled a wrestling juggernaut that would rattle off 10 consecutive State Championships between 1978 and 1987.[15] Moreover, once the program began to excel, he regularly challenged some of the best programs in the country, such as New Jersey powerhouse Blair Academy. Eventually, he arranged a quadrangular tournament billed as the Quad of Champions that was hosted by St. Edward, whereby 4 nationally ranked teams would compete in successive dual meets. The tournament is now known as the "Super Quad." Given the high-caliber opponents, it makes the longest dual meet unbeaten streak of 82 between 1977 and 1988, which is 3rd all-time in the state of Ohio, all the more impressive.[16]

The driven Ferguson died of a heart attack at age 51 in 1989.[15] The next year, Ferguson was posthumously inducted into the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association (OHSWCA) Hall of Fame, class of 1990. [17] St. Edward would rename the school's athletic Hall of Fame in his honor, Howard Ferguson Athletic Hall of Fame.[18]

In the aftermath of Ferguson's sudden death, Greg Urbas, a math teacher and assistant football and freshman wrestling coach took the reins. Although Urbas's soft-spoken and unassuming manner was quite different from Ferg's loud yelling style, [19] he was similarly disciplined. Urbas served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1973-77. [20] Urbas has 5 national titles and surpassed Ferguson's State title total in 2007. With 14 state titles, Urbas is one behind St. Xavier swim coach Jim Brower's state record of 15 for head coaches.[21] In 2009, the team won its 13th straight and 25th overall Division I state wrestling championship, both state records.[21] No other Ohio school has won 13 state titles in a row in any sport.

Since 1959 through 2009, the wrestling program has produced:

  • 25 OHSAAWrestling Team State Championships - 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 [22][23]
  • 89 Individual State Champions, [24] including 3 4-time Champs, 6 3-time Champs, and 11 2-time Champs[14]
  • 11 Team National Championships - 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2007[25]
  • 35 Team Sectional Champions[14]
  • 30 Team District Champions[14]
  • 52 college All-Americans[14]
  • 5 NCAA National Champions (7 titles)[14]
  • 1 Olympic competitor - Andy Hrovat

Ice Hockey program

The ice hockey team has won 11 state titles, which is a state record for that sport, in 18 OHSAA appearances, 2nd most in the state all-time.[26]

The ice hockey program in its early days was unremarkable, although it had some good players that went on to solid college hockey careers such as Don Harkins, as well as Mark and Bill Switaj (pronounced "Sweet-eye") who both went to Boston College.[27]

However, it all changed when a former pro goalie Bob Whidden was named the coach in 1984. In his first year, Whidden would lead the Eagles to become the 1985 OHSAA State Champions. That team featured a young sophomore center named Todd Harkins, who would go on to have an NHL and minor league career.[28] Whidden coached several players that would be in the NHL draft including Todd Harkins, Brett Harkins, and Michael Rupp, who is now with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

During his 20 years at the helm, Whidden's Eagles would win 10 OHSAA state titles, 7 Baron Cups (Greater Cleveland Championships), and finished with a career record of 507-149-28.[29] He was one of the most accomplished head coaches in Ohio high school hockey history, as his 507 wins rank fourth most all-time in OHSAA history. [30] He retired in March 2005 after winning the 10th title and being named Ohio High School Hockey Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations. In July 2009, St. Edward named Whidden to the school's Athletic Hall of Fame, class of 2009.[31]

Upon Bob Whidden's retirement, the school named his son as head coach. Rob Whidden, a 1988 graduate of St. Edward, was also a goalie and still owns the Ohio record for the most saves in a state title game (56, vs. Cleveland Heights in 1987).[26] The younger Whidden would coach the team to the 2008 Ohio state title.[32] In 2009, the team would suffer a double overtime loss in the OHSAA state semifinals.[33]

  • Ice hockey State Championships - 1985, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008[34]

Other sports

The Ohio High School Athletic Association[35] has awarded the school the following state championships:

St. Edward is also one of only a handful of high schools in the United States that offer rugby union as a varsity sport.[38] In 2006, The St. Edward Eagle Rugby team placed 8th in the nation.[39]

St. Edward was the winner of the 2007-2008 Ohio Cup, which is presented to one Ohio school each year for outstanding performance in high school sports. The Eagles appeared in four Division I State Championship games in 2007-08 and won three state championships in Wrestling, Hockey and Baseball. The Eagles also advanced to the championship game in Basketball.

Football program

The football team is known as the Big Green Machine by its fans.[40] However, in the past, the team only enjoyed sporadic success. In 1975, under coach Mike Currence, the Big Green Machine lost in the state finals to Cincinnati Moeller High School, by a score of 14-12, at the hands of future Notre Dame coach Gerry Faust.[41] The program languished under coach Dan Flaherty, who was a capable offensive coordinator. In 1984, the school hired Coach Al O'Neil, who had recently retired after leading a successful program at Avon Lake High School. The Big Green Machine would make the OHSAA playoffs in O'Neil's first season. Two years later, the team would lose in the 1986 state finals by 1 point, 21-20, to Fairfield High School.[41] The football team's fortunes slumped from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, which was particularly painful for the school's faithful given arch rival St. Ignatius High School's dominance under Coach Chuck Kyle.

The team has improved in more recent years, having made the OHSAA playoffs nine out of the last 10 years, including the state finals in 2003 and the state final four in 2005.[42] The resurgence was led by Coach John Gibbons, who won 2 OHSAA state titles in Division III while at Lake Catholic High School. Despite a successful run and a 81-22 record, Gibbons was fired on January 12, 2007. [43]

The school hired Scott Niedzwiecki as head coach in March 2007.[44] He was the offensive coordinator during 2003 state championship run. He spent the next three season as the defensive coordinator at John Carroll University. However, he had a unremarkable 10-10 record in 2 seasons and was forced to resign nearly 2 years to the day from the Gibbons firing.[43] The school hired Rick Finotti as head coach in March 2009 [45] and experienced coach Joe Perella as offensive coordinator in April 2009.[46]

The Holy War

A strong rivalry exists between St. Edward and St. Ignatius High School. The two schools are quite similar in that both are Catholic, college prep, all-boys schools on the west side of the Cleveland area. The schools are separated by only six miles. One of the main reasons for the rivalry is that the schools draw from the same student pool of boys from west side Catholic grade schools. Because of this, when the students face off in direct competition, they commonly are up against former grade school friends.

The schools both produce high quality athletic teams, combining for over 60 state titles in the last 30 years with St. Edward winning most of those titles. While the schools compete in virtually all sports annually, the main event is the football match-up that draws upward of 13,000 fans.[47] The game is dubbed, "the Holy War" after the similar Catholic college football scenario between Boston College (a Jesuit school) and University of Notre Dame (a Holy Cross school). In addition, basketball games between the two schools (commonly twice a year) sell out at the hosting school's gymnasium.

Several match-ups live in the lore of Cleveland high school sports. In 1993, the regular-season football match-up was regarded as one of the greatest Cleveland football games, resulting in a 35-34 3OT win for St. Ignatius. While the schools are only six miles apart, in 1998 basketball regional lines were drawn along the Cleveland/Lakewood border and the two teams met in the Division I state championship, with St. Edward prevailing 70-61.[48] The same scenario occurred in baseball in 2008, with St. Edward beating St. Ignatius 6-2 in the 2008 Baseball Division I State Championship game.

Notable alumni


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External links


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